Monday, September 15, 2008

Beatrix - Entrepreneur

Peter Rabbit Race Game

Beatrix was not only a great artist, writer, conservationist, scientist and farmer. She was an astute business woman & entrepreneur.
Of course when no one would publish her Tales of Peter Rabbit she privately printed herself along with some other titles.
It wasn't long before Beatrix had ideas about games and toys and all manner of things related to her stories. She created a board game surrounding Peter Rabbit only to have it shelved by Warne & Co. Oddly enough when the going got tough at Warne (And it got seriously tough) the board game was brought back to light and ended up becoming a company saving item.
Beatrix created a Peter Rabbit doll. As Warne & Co had not copyrighted Peter Rabbit in the US, cheap knock off dolls were being created. She made a superior design and received a patent for it. She prodded Warne but ended up finding a manufacturer herself and then took control of the derivatives or in her words, "side shows", that included items like painting books, dolls, games & wallpaper. Today upwards of 2000 products a year bear the likeness of Peter Rabbit.
The books continued and in all some 23 were published over her lifetime. Peter Rabbit alone has sold an astonishing 40 million copies printed since 1902

The Folio Society has a lovely duo boxed set (11& 12) of the tales, lovingly recreated.

http://wiredforbooks.org/judytaylor/ A link to an interesting audio interview with Judy Taylor (Author and Beatrix Potter collector) by Don Swaim of CBS about Beatrix Potter

Let's rest Miss Potter and go onto something else unless you want more.

17 comments:

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Fascinating information - I never knew that about her. I suppose my memories are stuck in childhood with Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggywinkle and the rest didn't matter!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! ;-)

Gill said...

Hello, just returning your call via black boxes. I see we share a mutual interest in Beatrix Potter, do you have any idea what Mrs Tiggywinkle's first name is?

Virtual Voyage said...

Interesting background! Came here via the Black Box. Enjoy touring the Lakes but haven't so far visited Beatrix's house.

willow said...

Interesting that the game became a company saving item. Her "side shows" are lovely, don't you think?I would love to have an original anything. :^)

acornmoon said...

How interesting, I thought that the notion of "artist as brand" was a new one. Maybe she invented the whole idea of merchandise and licensing!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wonderfully informative, as usual!
Don't you just love the Folio Society books?

The Weaver of Grass said...

How did you feel about the "Miss Potter" film - did you think Renee Zeilwegger portrayed her in the right way?

Pat Posner said...

How clever of the black box to bring me here! I'm just re-reading The Magic Years of Beatrix Potter.

Crazy Working Mom said...

Just wanted to say hello. I came via the Black Box. :)

Eve said...

I had no idea she was such a businesswoman, an international business woman at that! and I was brought up near the area, maybe they should teach more than her art at the local schools.

Bear Naked said...

Arrived here via the black box.
Interesting blog.

Bear((( )))

Owlfarmer said...

I wonder if she ever made anything from the Royal Doulton children's china. My kids loved eating breakfast on special occasion from their cereal bowls, and sipping "coffee milk" (warm milk with a tiny smidge of coffee) from the cups and saucers. Thanks for the reminder that she must have been among the first writers to augment book sales with merchandise, opening up a world of possibilities (however ambivalent we may be about what followed).

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

I remember reading her too in school!

Dropped here by the lil black box :)

A World Away said...

Welcome all black boxers...May the Force be with You.
Absolute Vanilla - I think we all can do with a good dose of rediscovering the child within!
Gill - Mrs Tiggy-winkle's was indeed modeled after Beatrix's real life pet hedgehog Mrs Tiggy-Winkle who she used as a model. To my knowledge she has no first name.
Virtual Voyage- Hope you get there some day. We are planning a trip sometime in the future.
Wilow I wish I had a few 'sideshows' myself!
Celia- I guess Beatrix was a pioneer in that field too.
Pamela- I do love the Folio Books
Weaver - I loved Renne in this role. I loved the movie although were some historical inaccuracies.
Pat I'm glad the BB brought you to the world of Illustrated books. I do hope you enjoy the book. Linda Lear's bio is a fabulous read too.
Crazy Woman - Hi
Eve - Yes, she was a real Renaissance women.
Bear Naked - Hi
Candace- I'm sure there are Peter Rabbit RD out there. Cheers
Hi Sameera thanks for stopping by.

Margaret said...

The Peter Rabbit game certainly looks like fun! Like owlfarmer, we also had the peter rabbit china! I even had a little Peter Rabbit pin that I adored wearing on my pink cardigan (wow that takes me back). Great stuff.

The Dutchess said...

What a wonderful blog this is...and I am always interested in Miss Potter as you can find on my blog.I wil be visiting you again.Have a wonderful weekend:)

Wendy said...

It's nice to see people take control of and do well with their business. I watch younger people with talent and energy (Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, etc) and wonder what they are doing with that money. Compared to someone like Potter or a modern day example Madonna or Oprah. They take concern with their "product" and how it's managed. Admirable!